Iowa Lawyer Weekly (04/23/2014)
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April 23, 2014
Past Issues

 New, revised title standards now available

Changes to seven title standards and three new title standards approved by the ISBA Board of Governors at its quarterly meeting the end of March have now been posted on the ISBA website. The approvals were based on recommendations by the ISBA Real Estate & Title Law Section’s Title Standards Committee.

Revisions approved include: Title Standard 1.1 pertaining to an attorney’s attitude in examining abstracts of title; Standard 1.9 pertaining to the necessity for an abstract to show a mortgage or similar security agreement, either satisfied or not satisfied, if more than 20 years old; Standard 7.7 pertaining to what is necessary to clear the title to real property that is encumbered by a mortgage when an individual mortgagee is deceased; and Standards 12.1 and 15.3 pertaining to situations where real property is held in a partnership’s name or in a limited liability company’s name.

New standards approved include: Title Standard 1.13 pertaining to the marketability of a title of residential construction when a notice has been posted on the Mechanic’s Notice and Lien Registry; Standard 4.12 pertaining to what showing is necessary to ensure a clear title to real estate when it is subject to an outstanding contract for deed; and Standard 10.7 pertaining to the extent Iowa Code § 614.14A can be relied upon as a statute of limitations when a corporation, limited liability company, partnership, cooperative or association seeks to invalidate a deed or real estate contract based on the allegation that the execution of the instrument was not authorized by the entity.

You can download the entire set of title standards in PDF or Word formats from the ISBA’s website by clicking on "Title Standards” under the "Practice Tools” tab. To be taken directly to the list of new and revised standards and the links to download the entire set, click here.

 Free, professional photo opportunities at annual meeting

Members attending the annual meeting who are looking to update their professional photos can take advantage of an opportunity to get a free, professional, digital photo taken right at the meeting site. Meeting attendees can schedule their session at the registration desk in the lobby of the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (formerly Vets Auditorium), the site of this year’s annual meeting.

Photo-sessions will be spread throughout the week, but will be limited to scheduled time-slots only. Attendees won’t have to sign up for a photography session immediately when they sign in at the registration desk, but once the pre-determined time-slots are filled, there will be no more opportunities. It is anticipated that the limited number of sessions will go quickly.

Those interested in guaranteeing a photo session time-slot can contact the ISBA communications department prior to the annual meeting to get first pick of photo-session time-blocks when they become available. Contact Ashlee Lolkus, assistant communications director, at or by calling 515-697-7896.

To register for the annual meeting, click here.

 Temporary Windows 8.1 compatibility issue on

ISBA IT staff recently identified a compatibility issue with Windows 8.1, which may result in an error message when trying to access some pages on the ISBA website.

A user initially reported the issue to IT staff when an error page resulted after the user attempted to purchase an item from the online store. ISBA IT staff said the glitch affects any screen requiring a login from the main area of the page (not the left navigation login point). It is not for certain when this fix will be completed, however using an alternative browser is the temporary solution until a fix can be made.

The ISBA website host suggests that users with Windows 8.1 who are experiencing issues try using Firefox or Google Chrome browsers. Users needing to use an alternate browser can download and install the programs from the browser links above.

The ISBA apologies for any inconvenience this may cause for members and is diligently working on a solution.

 ISBA’s professional liability insurance program offers free estimates on premium costs

Law firms and solo practitioners looking for lawyer-specific, risk-management and loss-prevention services can receive a simple, free, no-obligation estimate on premium costs from ISBA insurance partner, Lockton Affinity, LLC..

The ISBA partners with Lockton Affinity, LLC, and CNA to provide professional malpractice insurance that offers broad coverage policies at competitive rates to ISBA members. Included in the features are $25,000/year for reimbursement of attorney fees and other reasonable costs associated with Medicare Secondary Payer Statute matters; automatic, basic Client Network Risk and Privacy Claim coverage for no additional premium; reduced deductible for early resolution of a claim; and more. 

Members can access the ISBA Insurance Program website here. Bar members will have to download, complete, and mail or fax the form to: ISBA Insurance Program, P.O. Box 410679, Kansas City, MO 64141-0679; Fax: 913-652-3993.

 Criminal Law Seminar hot topic: Synthetic drug trends and policies to change them

Synthetic drug trends in Iowa and the policies designed to combat them is expected to be the hot topic at the 2014 Criminal Law Seminar to be held next Friday, May 2, at the ISBA headquarters in Des Moines.

Popularized synthetic drugs are hitting the market as ‘legal’ alternatives, making drug prevention and enforcement a serious problem. A group of panelists will discuss what attorneys need to know when dealing with client cases of this nature.

Additional topics for this year’s seminar include a legislative update, attorney qualifications for representing the indigent defendant, immigration issues and the criminal defendant, representing the juvenile in adult court, drug trends and conflicts in criminal representation. This CLE qualifies attendees for eight credits including two ethics credits.

Members interested in attending this day-long CLE can register online for the 2014 Criminal Law Seminar up until May 1. Questions about this event can be directed to Christy Cronin, director of Continuing Legal Education, at or by calling 515-697-7874.

 Save the dates for the YLD’s annual charity golf outings

The Young Lawyers Division’s (YLD) Justice for All Golf Committees have been actively organizing their annual golf outings for this summer. The Eastern Division committee has chosen June 26 at Saddleback Ridge Golf Course on the outskirts of Solon for its event. The Central Division committee has set its event for July 24 at Otter Creek Golf Course in Ankeny.

Both events use a four-person best ball format with prizes and a light dinner following the golf. All proceeds go to support the ISBA Public Service Project for programming and activity expenses. For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Brett Toresdahl, executive director of the ISBA PSP at 515-244-8617 or

Details about each of the events are available on the ISBA website at "Upcoming CLE” under the CLE tab. To access the Eastern Division event directly, click here. To access the Central Division event directly, click here.

 New member benefit improves writing clarity, conciseness

The ISBA Board of Governors recently approved a new member benefit that edits an individual’s writing to make it more clear and concise. Called "WordRake,” it is an editing software program that can be added to Microsoft Word and will edit 25 pages and suggest 300 improvements per minute, according to its developers.

Founded by lawyer and bestselling author Gary Kinder, WordRake makes suggested edits in a written piece, each of which the user can accept or reject. The developers claim that about 90-95 percent of the edits are accurate.

ISBA members receive a 10 percent discount from the annual subscription fee of $99. The company also offers a free three-day trial. Presently the software is only available for Windows-based computers.

To check out some of the editing samples and learn more about the software, click on the "Member Benefits” tab under "Practice Tools” on the ISBA website (, then scroll down to "WordRake Editing Software.” Click here to be taken directly to the WordRake website.

 U.S. Will Registry website makes locating wills easier

A website designed to keep track of people’s last wills and testaments and their living wills hopes to reduce the inability of loved ones to find a deceased person’s will and an incapacitated person’s living will.

Developed after eight years of research and the guidance of 22 top retired estate planning attorneys throughout the country, the U.S. Living Will Registry offers attorneys the opportunity to register wills so that heirs or caregivers can locate the wills by filing a request with the registry. According to the registry’s website, studies show that 67 percent of wills that are written are never found because no one knows where the will is located.

Only attorneys can register wills with the registry website. To ensure the information is kept secure, the registration only asks for the location of the original and duplicate copies of the client’s will. In the case of a last will and testament, the person searching for the will is required to provide the deceased’s first and last names, last four digits of the person’s Social Security number, date of birth, as well as a death certificate to the attorney on file. If there is a match in the system, the registry will only forward the ‘searchers’ contact information directly to the attorney/office listed in the registration form for follow up.

To learn more, click on The U.S. Will Registry website.

 Judging opportunities for High School Mock Trial National Tournament

Rumor has it that attorneys are needed as judges for the High School Mock Trial National Tournament in Madison, Wisc., on Friday and Saturday, May 9-10.

Teams of high schoolers, from around the country, including Iowa’s 2014 state champion from Pocahontas Area High School, will descend on the Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club in downtown Madison for an opportunity to win the national title.

The tournament location is relatively close, especially for attorneys in eastern Iowa, says John Wheeler, who coordinates the Iowa mock trial program and is on the board of the National Mock Trial organization. It would be a great opportunity for Iowa attorneys to witness top-notch mock trial competitions, he says.

If you, or someone you know, would like to judge, contact the Host Director, Kate Wilcox, directly at For information about the tournament, including the schedule, case information and travel information, go to the National Mock Trial Tournament website.

Did You Know...

as an ISBA member, you are eligible to receive discounts on USPS Express Mail (overnight) and Priority Mail (1-3 days) to all 50 states. Click on "Member Benefits” to be taken directly to the web page that lists all member benefits, or click on "Member Benefits” under the "Practice Tools” tab on the ISBA website and scroll down to "Express Shipping.”

Benefit of the Week

Iowa Lawyer Magazine App
The ISBA’s monthly magazine is now brought to you via your iOS or Android device. Receive all the great information available in the Iowa Lawyer Magazine in the palm of your hand, wherever you go, at no cost. Just simply download the free app below!

Download the free iOS app here or click here to download the Android app. You may also call (515) 697-7868 for more information.


Iowa Supreme Court Decisions

April 18, 2014

No. 13–0505


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Peter A. Keller, Judge.

A ward appeals from probate court orders refusing to terminate his guardianship and establishing a conservatorship. AFFIRMED.